Garden Tomb

Garden Tomb
He lives

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Its free, just like Salvation!"...

Just the other day, the Salvation Army was having their annual red kettle kickoff for this coming Christmas season.  There was great music sung by local members of the Salvation Army.  The spirit of Christmas was indeed in the air.  To top of the warm and friendly welcome of the volunteers, they served some good ole hot chocolate!
So one of the lady's at the hot chocolate both yells out to me, "Would you like to have some hot chocolate?"
I reply, "How much is it?"
She answers, "It's free!"
I quickly walk up to her with no hesitation.
After she pours me a cup, she hands it to me and says "It's free, just like salvation."

Now that got me thinking.
Is salvation free?
How does it work?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A letter from my uncle Greg

Howdy, All,
Thought I'd drop you a line to give you an update on our family's latest conversion story.  Michael has had a non-member friend with whom he has hung out for several years now.  His name is Paris Demille.  Paris has always been a "good kid" who has done very well in school  and who is quite popular with his peers.  Ever since James started the practice of sharing a scripture each evening, Michael has carried on the tradition and began to include Paris a year or so ago.  Michael, by the beginning of this their senior year, finally persuaded Paris to take seminary during the school day.  By September Paris consented to taking the missionary discussions, but we had to get permission from his grandparents, with whom he and his little sister, London, were living at the time.  I made a visit to Gail and Nancy Demille and procured their permission, so that the discussions with the full-time Elders could begin.  They even granted permission for 11 year-old London to sit in on the lessons.
By mid-October a baptismal date had been set for either the first or second Saturday in November, but by the end of the month concerns had arisen as to whether or not Paris' mother, Camille, would consent to the baptism(s).  She had been living out of town, and began to express some reservations.  The baptismal date was finally set for November 13th, but when Camille moved back to Monroe on Nov.  4th and met with the missionaries, she decided that she would not allow either Paris or London to be baptized due to her unwillingness to have them affiliate with a church that seemed to discriminate against gays and those who had participated in abortions.  Her concerns arose when the missionaries informed her of the questions that Paris and London would be asked during their baptismal interviews.  On Sunday the 7th I met with her and we spoke together for some time.  I was able to help alleviate her misunderstandings, and she consented to allow Paris' baptism to go forward on the 13th, but London would have to wait until she was a little older and "mature enough to make her own decisions."
Camille's consent to allow Paris' baptism obviously elated us, so the missionaries began to prepare for an early-morning service in a baptismal room that might not contain all the people that were planning to attend.  Things had to happen early that day due to the fact that many of the high school students (including Michael) were scheduled to participate in the school play, "My Fair Lady," during the 1 PM matinee.
When we showed up at 9 AM on Sat., the 13th, there was London, all dressed in white alongside Elder Jared Harlan, also dressed in white.  When I asked Elder Harlan what happened, he told me that London's mom had thought about it some more and felt good about consenting to London's baptism as well.  She literally gave the O.K. the day before!
We only set up one row of chairs in front of the baptismal font for the family.  The rest of the room was packed, standing room only, with Paris' high school friends.  The feeling I got was hard to describe as I watched my 17 year old son baptize and then hug his friend in front of all that support.  The service was spirit-filled as was the sacrament meeting the following day when London and then Paris were confirmed members of the Church.  As they say, "It just doesn't get any better than this!"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Put on the whole armor of God

Everyday is a battle.  We are constantly bombarded with the forces of the evil one; perverse entertainment, pornography, drugs, alcohol, anger, depression, fear, doubt, I can go on...
The Scriptures call this "the fiery darts of the wicked."

How can we protect ourselves
 and our families from these fiery darts?
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
  12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritu al wickedness in high places.
  13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness 
  15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
  16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
  17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
  18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication fo r all saints;  
Lets never forget to put on the whole armor of God.

There is a battle that is raging on this earth
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.".

Don't be a casualty.
Put on the whole armor of God.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Redwoods are HUGE!!!

Sometimes, we feel real small in the world.  My latest trip up north to Eureka California was one of those times.
Northern California is know for its beauty but in particular the worlds tallest trees, Redwood trees.  After a great 24 hours teaching and preaching Gods truth, Elder Hinton and I took a moment to tour the notorious "Avenue of the Giants".
There in the silent redwood forest, I once again was struck with awe at the love that my God has for me.  There are plenty of bigger and better things out there, other than myself (the giant redwoods towering above tend to make one feel real small). But, this I do know, that little ole James Abbott is watched and cared for by a loving God, my Heavenly Father.  He not only sees me for who I am, but who I can become.  I have learned these truths by learning His Gospel.

You too can feel big, even in a world where you seem so small.
visit to learn more about the plan that God, our Father in Heaven, has for us, His children.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lord will prepare his people

Every six weeks, we as missionaries have a possibility of being transferred into a different city or town.  Part of my assignment as assistant to the president of the mission is to be part of this transfer meeting.  Its a neat experience and I always walk away from those meetings with a better understanding of the love that God has for each of his missionaries.
For the last 6 months, I have served in Bennett Valley, Santa Rosa area.  That is typically a long time to serve in one area so I knew I was soon due for a move.  When President Bunker told me that he has prayerfully selected Shiloh Park, Santa Rosa to be my new area, I was immediately excited.  I love Santa Rosa so I knew it would be nice to stay in the city.  But that's not what its about...
I recognize my purpose as a missionary of the Lord which is to bring others unto Christ through baptism.  So the call to go to Shiloh park means nothing to me if I am not fulfilling my assignment.  That night I prayed earnestly to God that he would prepare souls for me to find, teach, and baptize.  For the next week, that same cry was made to my Lord.  I believe in the promise given in Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:".
Sure enough, it was given to me...
Our very first dinner/appointment in Shiloh Park was with the Ritter family.  Sis. Ritter joined the church in 1976.  Her husband, Bob Ritter, grew up with no religion.  As we sat across the dinner table there was no doubt that this family had been prepared by the Lord to be taught by us.  Later on that evening, we invited Bro. Ritter to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized.  Bro. Ritter will be baptized December 5th.
"And whoso reciveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Henderson's- an example family

I'm sad to report that I am will be leaving the Bennett Valley ward.  For the past 6 months I have come to love these wonderful people.  My life will ever be changed from my service with this great ward.
One of the blessings of being a full time missionary is the privilege of meeting and getting to know individuals and families.  One family in particular that has touched me in this positive way is the Henderson family.
The Henderson's, with their 4 great children, have been there for us local missionaries on many occasions.  I could make a fat list stating all that they have done for us, but by me so doing it would seem redundant.
It is simple, the reason why this family is so amazing is because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This family is living Christ gospel.  No they are not perfect, but they are striving to be.  By living His gospel we too can enjoy the sweetness that this everlasting gospel offers; which will in turn give us peace and joy in this life, and everlasting blessings in the world to come.  The Henderson's are a righteous example of what is possible by living this, Christ gospel.  My hope is that I too can have a family that is centered on Christ, just like the Henderson's.
Thank you Bennett Valley and thank you Henderson family
To find out more on how your family can be like the Henderson's, visit

Saturday, November 6, 2010

white as snow

In my scripture studies this morning I came across a verse that struck me in a way that it never has; it reads...
"And the angel said unto me: Look! And I looked, and beheld three generations pass away in righteousness; and their garments were white even like unto the Lamb of God. And the angel said unto me: These are made white in the blood of the Lamb, because of their faith in him." -(1 Nephi 12:11)

"..white even like unto the Lamb of God.."

So than I asked myself, how white was the Lamb of God?
  • In Acts we read of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus when the resurrected Lord appears to him:
"And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me."  -(Acts 22:6)
  • We read in Matthews account of the risen Lord appearing to many:
"His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:" -(Matthew 28:3)
  • When Christ shows himself to his fold in the ancient Americas:
"...and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof." -(3 Nephi 19:25)

  • Joseph Smith tells of his visitation of the Father and the Son:
"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me... When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air." -(Joseph Smith History 1:17)

What does this all mean?
"and their garments were white even like unto the Lamb of God."
"and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus"

A scripture in Isaiah comes to mind:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." -(Isaiah 1:18)

How is that possible?  A sinful, cruel, selfish human can become "white" as the sinless, loving, perfect in every way, the Lamb of God, even Jesus Christ.  The key is... "These are made white in the blood of the Lamb, because of their faith in him"

All things can be done by Christ.  We must exercise our faith in Him in order to apply His cleansing blood in order to become "white as snow".
We must have faith in Jesus Christ and repent.

Jerrold, Joseph and Emilio did.

Will you?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

O Remember, Remember

Have you seen Gods hand in your life today?

Let us remember Him in all things.
We must never forget that we are indeed placed on this earth for a distinct purpose; and by remembering Him each day, we will receive the comfort and guidance that will help us overcome the trials of life in mortality.